Stone Age Economics is a classic study of anthropological economics, first published in 1974. As Marshall Sahlins stated in the first edition, "It has been inspired by the possibility of 'anthropological economics,' a perspective indebted rather to the nature of the primitive economies than to the categories of a bourgeois science." Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, the book includes six studies which reflect the author's ideas on revising traditional views of the hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original affluent society. The book examines notions of production, distribution and exchange in early communities and examines the link between economics and cultural and social factors. It consists of a set of detailed and closely related studies of tribal economies, of domestic production for livelihood, and of the submission of domestic production to the material and political demands of society at large.
Contents: Introduction 1. The Original Affluent Society 2. The Domestic Mode of Production: The Structure of Underproduction 3. The Domestic Mode of Production: Intensification of Production 4. The Spirit of the Gift 5. On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange 6. Exchange Value and the Diplomacy of Primitive Trade